Straughn suffers losses

Published 11:59 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

A good beginning sometimes doesn’t end well.

The No. 6 Straughn Tigers saw their quick 11-3 start to the 2009 season hit its first major snag this past weekend at the Valley Tournament.

The Tigers lost all four games they played, falling to Valley 6-5, Beulah 9-4, Dadeville 10-0 and Alexandria 12-2.

Straughn coach John Fussell said his team had a heart-breaking loss in the opener against Valley, and was never able to rebound from that defeat.

“I wasn’t upset,” Fussell said. “I was disappointed for them, but I wasn’t upset for our players at all. (After the close loss to Valley), I knew we had to play Beulah next and they had a six-run first inning. You put one and one together and tell me if we had shook off that first loss.”

In the first game against Valley, the Tigers (11-7) were down 4-3 in the top of the seventh and scored two runs to go up 5-4.

At the bottom half of the inning, Valley managed to score two additional runs with one out in the inning to win the game on two hits, one walk and one single.

Fussell said the beginning of the game was good, but the ending was not.

“It started out good,” he said. “We started out playing good and the result from the first game wasn’t what we wanted. It was the best game we played in, with the exception of the last game we played (against Alexandria). But that would only include the first three innings of that game.”

Fussell said his players still have to learn to put losses behind them and move on to the next game.

“To me, we haven’t learned how to overcome a loss and go on to play in the next game,” he said. “A prime example would be when we lost last year to Luverne at home in nine innings. We lost by one run and then the very next game against the same team, we got 10 runs. We’ve got to do a better job of having a short memory when it comes to handling losses.”

Fussell said simply the team had too many strikeouts at the plate and was walking too many batters.

“In the other games, we walked eight batters in two games and in the other one, we walked five,” Fussell said. “We made too many errors. We played good in (the Valley) game and the thing is that we played well enough to win.

“We didn’t win and I truly believe we carried that over to the next three games,” he said. “You can’t do that. A lot of that has to do with us being young.”

In spite of the losses his team took this past weekend, Fussell said he is still eager to complete the rest of the season.

“I’m real excited about the rest of this season as well as the years to come,” he said. “I think about it all the time. In the 24 innings that we pitched, every single inning that we pitched — with the exception of four — were pitched by a 10th grader.

“I’m also excited because when, in the next year or two, you start adding up all the games since they were in eighth grade, they’re going to be a tremendously experienced team. We’re going to go back to Valley next year. We’re going back and we’re going to play some good ball teams and we’ll expect to be better.”

Straughn will travel to play Pleasant Home today in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m.